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Regional Children’s Hospitals Begin Clinical Collaboration 

SPRINGFIELD — Baystate Children’s Hospital and Connecticut Children’s Medical Center have launched a new collaboration addressing potential ways to improve access to high-quality and high-value healthcare for children in Western Mass. and Connecticut.

The two organizations, which both provide high-level inpatient pediatric and neonatal care as well as comprehensive outpatient services for children and adolescents, will work together to determine whether they can increase the availability, sophistication, and coordination of pediatric services throughout the Connecticut River Valley, and collaborate with community pediatric providers to improve the overall health and wellness of children in the region. Both have been recognized by U.S. News and World Report among the top U.S. children’s hospitals.

“We recognize that an opportunity exists to bring together the talent, vision, and expertise of some of the leading healthcare providers in Western and Southern New England,” said Dr. Fernando Ferrer, chief physician executive at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. “As the pediatric healthcare environment becomes more complex, the responsible approach is to consider what is in the best interests of our children and families. We are committed to working together with this in mind.”

Added Dr. John Schreiber, chief physician executive of Baystate Health, “our two organizations have a lot in common: similar cultures of placing the patient at the very center of our focus and strong commitments to the health of our communities in the broadest sense. In these common traits, we see the foundations of a very successful collaboration.”

Examples of areas where both organizations agree that a collaborative approach could improve access and quality of care include pediatric neurosurgery, ophthalmology, pulmonology, and urology, all areas where current provider shortages can make getting care difficult for patients and families.

The proposed collaboration may extend beyond clinical-care delivery, as the organizations will also jointly explore the potential for expansion of a new pediatric accountable-care organization (ACO) that is now being developed in Western Mass. by Baycare Health Partners, Baystate’s affiliated physician-hospital organization. The goal of an expanded children’s ACO will be to improve the coordination of care between pediatric primary-care providers, specialists, and hospitals throughout the Connecticut River Valley; support the continuing development and implementation of healthcare-quality measures specific to caring for children; and continue the paradigm shift in the provision of care, from treating children when they’re sick to focusing on keeping them well. Another area of potential will be developing research collaborations between the organizations in order to expedite discovery and treatment of pediatric conditions.

“As a general pediatrician who sees children in Connecticut and Massachusetts, this agreement gives me great hope,” said Dr. Richard Segool of Pioneer Valley Pediatrics, which has offices in Enfield, Conn., and Longmeadow. “There is a natural axis for families, employers, and medical providers up and down the Connecticut River Valley. This is going to scale up the clinical resources available for children and enable us to help more children stay close to home in receiving any kind of care they need. I look forward to actively participating in the ACO effort along with many of my fellow community physicians.”

Connecticut Children’s Medical Center is a clinical affiliate of the UConn School of Medicine; Baystate Children’s Hospital is part of the western campus of Tufts University School of Medicine. Both facilities are Children’s Miracle Network hospitals.

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